Sciatica

Daniel Nelson, MD

Regenerative Medicine & Interventional Pain Medicine located in Greater Seattle area, Kirkland, WA

Sciatica, with its trademark back and leg pain, is a common problem that can cause considerable disruption and discomfort. If you’re experiencing symptoms of sciatica, Daniel Nelson, MD, practicing in Kirkland, in the Greater Seattle area of Washington, can help. Dr. Nelson and Sarah Goble, PA-C, provide expert pain management therapies and cutting-edge solutions for the pain of sciatica, including regenerative medicine. Call Dr. Daniel Nelson today to find out more or book an appointment online.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a painful back condition that develops because of irritation to the sciatic nerve in the lumbar (lower) part of your spine.

The sciatic nerve travels from the bottom of your spine then divides in two, with a branch going through each hip, buttock, leg, and foot. An injury to your lumbar spine can cause pain and other symptoms that follow the path of your sciatic nerve. 

Sciatica is also known as lumbar radiculopathy. Radiculopathy is the name for conditions that cause pressure to spinal nerves.

What causes sciatica?

Any condition that compresses the sciatic nerve can cause sciatica, but the most common causes are:

Herniated disc

Spinal discs sit between each vertebra, helping to cushion the bones and give your spine flexibility. Discs have a fibrous outer layer with a softer interior. If the outer layer gets weak or torn, the insides can squeeze out and start pressing on nearby nerves in the spinal canal.

Degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease develops over time, as advancing age causes the discs to get flatter and start drying out. The vertebrae above or below the affected discs can move slightly out of position, and this means they might pinch nerve roots nearby.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of your spinal canal and is often due to degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis. When the bones in your spine start to deteriorate, your body sometimes attempts to repair the damage by creating extra bone. These bone spurs or osteophytes can push into your spinal canal and put pressure on the nerve roots.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

The main symptom of sciatica is a shooting or burning pain that follows a path down one leg. Other symptoms of sciatica can include:

  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

The nerve root injuries that cause sciatica can happen at any of the five vertebrae in your lumbar spine, which are the L1 through L5 vertebrae, or at the upper portion of the sacrum (S1).

What treatments are there for sciatica?

Dr. Nelson’s treatments for sciatica begin with conservative methods that aim to relieve pressure on your sciatic nerve. Relieving the pressure should reduce the inflammation and ease your pain and other symptoms.

If conservative treatments aren’t helping, Dr. Nelson offers expertise in image-guided injection therapies such as:

These injections contain an anesthetic for short-term relief and a steroid medication that has longer lasting anti-inflammatory effects.

If you’re experiencing back or leg pain because of sciatica, call Dr. Daniel Nelson today or use the online form to schedule a consultation.